It is a busy time in the world of early education, with good news for home visiting in Congress, new recommendations for the early learning workforce and success implementing full-day kindergarten in Washington’s Bellingham School District.
Home Visiting Progress
Congress moved closer to renewing the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program last week, when the House approved a two-year extension of the program at $400 million dollars a year as part of a broader Medicare bill, CLASP reports. It is not a done deal because the Senate has to approve the legislation. But, President Barack Obama already indicated he would sign the measure, CLASP added.
In Washington state, an extension would help support home visiting services for 1,300 families and add services in a rural county.
Educare Narrows the Gap
One of the nation’s leading early learning programs, Educare, helps close the achievement gap, according to new research from the Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“Entering Educare as an infant appears to prevent the early decline in language scores often associated with poverty,” Noreen Yazejian, principal investigator of FPG’s Educare Learning Network Implementation Study, said in a research summary. “In addition, the children who enter Educare schools as infants and remain through their preschool years demonstrate the highest English language scores at age 5, performing very close to the national average.”
A new report analyzes the state of the early education workforce and lays out a set of recommendations in “Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation.”
“The report offers recommendations to build a workforce that is unified by the foundation of the science of child development and early learning and the shared knowledge and competencies that are needed to provide consistent, high-quality support for the development and early learning of children from birth through age 8.”
— Report at a Glance, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 4/1/15.
Model Full-Day K
In Washington state, the Bellingham School District was held up as a model for school districts moving to full-day kindergarten in a new story from the New America Foundation.
Change is never easy, but it’s easier when there are models of how to make a smooth, successful transition. Bellingham School District took early steps to implement a full day of learning and offers a model of smooth and successful transition for other districts both within Washington and beyond. One important lesson from Bellingham — and worth calling attention to right from the start — is that a seamless shift cannot happen without an intentional plan to train teachers and principals on how to maximize the new time to teach in the ways that young children learn best.
— “Full-day Kindergarten in Bellingham School District.” Ed Central, 3/25/15.